Nuts have wonderful enzymes - the trick is making them available (by soaking) and then not destroying them (roasting at high temps). My oven only goes as low at about 170º - not low enough to maintain the enzymes (below 150º is best) and heats up the house besides. I don’t have a dehydrator right now (though I wouldn’t mind a nice Excalibur) but I certainly have plenty of summer heat, and a car.
First soak them for 7-24 hrs in salted filtered water. Use about 1 TBS sea salt per 4 cups of almonds. Soaking (and sprouting) also eliminates phytates that rob your body of minerals and nutrients. Drain, and spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet or stone. I like to add some additional salt at this point, just sprinkled on to taste. Then dry them. I have done them in the oven sometimes, but with the heat, I just put the pans on the dashboard in the morning where the sun would be shining in. When I went to take them out later that afternoon, I need hotpads! It took two days of sunshine to get them crispy, but then I can store them in the cabinet for a quick snack.
This past time, I peeled them. It isn't hard, and makes them a little easier to digest, and a little tastier and nicer when ground up for baked goods. Before drying them, right after draining, just squeeze the skins off. They will go flying, so have the other hand there to catch them while you squeeze with the other hand.
|Hold in your fingers like so. Then squeeze toward the smaller side of the nut.|
And other nuts? Do the same thing! Peeling is not necessary, but soaking and drying works the same way for most nuts. Cashews are a little different. They should only soak for 6 hours and be dried at 200º - 250º. They do not come to you truly "raw", because heat is required for removing them from their shells. For more info and ideas with nuts, check out Nourishing Traditions.